John John Florence gave an historic performance yesterday when he posted five nine-point rides in his Round 4 heat against Kelly Slater and Adriano De Souza. Image: ASP/Rowland
21-year-old John John Florence surfed one of the most flawless heats in ASP history yesterday, sealing a berth in tomorrow’s Quarterfinals and marking himself as the man to beat in the Hurley Pro at Trestles. His near-perfect two wave total of 19.73 eclipsed 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater and Adriano De Souza, and stands as the highest two-wave heat total of the competition.
In total Florence posted a record-setting five rides of more than nine points in the 30-minute heat, which he credited to the incredible overhead surf on offer at San Clemente’s Lower Trestles. He sent the crowd into a frenzy, layering flair, torque and impossible rotation to every carve and aerial to put the level of his surfing beyond any question. Both Slater and De Souza were left needing a combination of scores and were forced to surf again in elimination Round 5 later in the day. Both survived and advanced to the Quarterfinals. De Souza and Florence will face off in Quarterfinal 3.
“I’m really grateful for the chance to skip a round because it’s hard work out there,” John John Florence said. “The waves are solid here this year and it’s exhausting. I was pretty focused in that heat. I was fortunate enough to be on some really well-shaped waves that allowed me to open up and perform. Stoked on the heat and looking forward to a big finish tomorrow.”
Today’s three-man Round 4 match was the first time Florence and Slater have squared off since last month’s Semifinal in Tahiti where the pair dueled in 15-foot surf – Slater emerging victorious.
Slater fought back from his earlier Round 4 defeat when he eliminated defending event winner Taj Burrow in a nail-biting battle in Round 5. The pair went head-to-head and Slater took an epic last-second win, stealing a wave under Burrow’s priority to deal a crushing blow to the Australian. Slater will face Joel Parkinson in the Quarterfinals.
“I’m pretty tired after surfing three heats, but I did everything I could and took my chance at the end,” said Kelly Slater. “We’ll wait to see how this event goes, but that was a World Title heat for me. If I’d loss that I think I would have been out of the race. I need to stay even with Gabriel (Medina), I need to win. That was a close one and some luck went my way at the end.”
In a highly anticipated rematch Gabriel Medina found himself in the lineup alongside wildcard Carlos Munoz, who had topped him in the opening round. Despite critical surfing from the Costa Rican wildcard the ASP World No. 1 delivered an air reverse and a chain of maneuvers to put his mark on the heat and cement his dominance. Medina continued his run of excellent form when he faced Miguel Pupo and Jordy Smith in Round 4 where he secured his place in the with a near perfect 9.83 Quarterfinals.
“The waves are great, the waves are really fun out there,” said Gabriel Medina. “I knew it was going to be a tough heat against Jordy (Smith) and Miguel (Pupo) because they’ve both been surfing really well out here. After my Round 3 win I felt better and more confident and I wasn’t feeling the same pressure.”
Reigning two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning was the first of the day to secure a Quarterfinal berth after facing formidable competitors Michel Bourez and Adrian Buchan. Fanning went for an air-reverse to put himself in the lead, backing it up using his power-carves and perfect, wrapping turns. Fanning’s effort earned him a 9.07 and the win. Bourez was eliminated by Jordy Smith in Round 5 while Buchan bested Miguel Pupo and joins Fanning in the Quarterfinals.
“You have to throw everything to wind and give it to your all out here,” said Mick Fanning. “I just need to win events and that’s what I’m going to aim for on the back half of the year. You have to build confidence here and focus on completing waves. I’m starting to feel good and learning this tricky lineup.”
“I felt like this success was coming, I just had to be patient,” said Adrian Buchan. “I’ve put a lot of hard work in this year to get this point and I finally feel that everything’s starting to work. This wave, no matter what style of surfing, you can do some really creative and innovating moves. It’s so great to watch everyone out here.”
Current ASP World No. 7 Adriano De Souza claimed the second highest two-wave heat total of the day (18.00) and a place in the Quarterfinals following his Round 5 heat against Owen Wright. The Brazilian opened big, dropping into a set wave for one of his 9.03 and backed it up with an 8.93, leaving the Australian in a combo situation with a broken board. De Souza previously matched up against Filipe Toledo (BRA) in Round 3. The pair ended the heat with identical single-wave scores and two-wave heat totals, 16.67, and it came down to the third highest wave score, a 7.00, which belonged to De Souza.
“To be honest it was a tough day because I’ve competed three times,” said Adriano De Souza. “I feel so good right now to make the Quarterfinals but I’m exhausted. I’m really proud of myself to make all of those heats. That one against Filipe (Toledo) was one of the hardest heats I’ve ever had in my whole life but thanks to him for making it best. I’d love to make the podium but tomorrow will be tough. For sure John John (Florence) is the one to beat.”
Jordy Smith claims his second Quarterfinal berth of the year after topping current Bourez in elimination Round 5. The heat come down to the final minutes and Smith, currently No. 14 on the WCT rankings, showed off his power with some tail drifts and smooth turns. He scored a 7.57 and ousted Bourez from the contest.
“I didn’t really know what’s happening and didn’t realize that I’d got the scores,” said Jordy Smith. “They must really like the big waves. It’s so nice to be able to wake up in my own bed and to be staying so close to the contest site: it’s quality.”
To wrap up an amazing day of competition at the Hurley Pro ended with 1989 ASP World Champion Martin Potter taking to the water against Brad Gerlach, one of his biggest rivals of their time, in the second ASP Heritage Series heat. Gerlach blitzed the heat with 14 points to Potter’s 10.76.
Hurley Pro at Trestles Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.67 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.44
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.30 def. Nat Young (USA) 15.60
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.60 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.83
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.93
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.17 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.93
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.30 def. Carlos Munoz (BRA) 8.77
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.17 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.84
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 16.57 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.83
Heat 9: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 16.67 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.67
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.70 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 14.10 (AUS)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.37 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.43
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.03 def. Artiz Aranburu (ESP) 13.70
Hurley Pro at Trestles Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.90, Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.70, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.14
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.46, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.03
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 19.73, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 17.84, Kelly Salter (USA) 11.83,
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.57, Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.44, Owen Wright (AUS) 13.90
Hurley Pro at Trestles Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.74 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.07
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.50 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.27
Heat 3: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 18.00 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.34
Heat 4: Kelly Salter (USA) 15.87 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.83
Hurley Pro at Trestles Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano De Souza (BRA)
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)